Continuing the Adventure

Posted on January 26th, 2014 by

Jess R. and Dan V. here with this week´s update.

Dan: First and foremost, Spanish keyboards are a puzzle. So, if all my apostrophes are wacky symbols, hang in there.

We had some bathroom problems the last week caused by illness. You know you´re really becoming friends with a group of people when the solidity of your latest bowel movement is acceptable dinner conversation.

*{¨´?Ñ [ ¨(There it is! Finally found the apostrophes. Go me.)

¨How ya doing Rachel?¨
¨Alright, how are you?¨
¨…I wish.¨

¨We have a sick list of kids that are healthy, improving, and still sick, but it´s pretty much a fluid rotation.¨-Lori

Fluid rotation? Get it?

Alright, enough of that. I know how much my mother enjoys my potty humor (not very much), so I´m sure all the other mothers will be equally thrilled. Here´s Jess.

Jess: We have just finished up our final week in Chimbote. It has been two weeks full of learning, friendship, and flexibility. We started out the week with a rowdy group of students that were excited to spend time with us. Since we were now comfortable around each other it was easier in some aspects to get the students involved in our goofy games and songs. Our goal was by the end of the week to have the students prepared to go to the pool. Monday was our day to hand out the permission slips and go over some really basic rules (who knew you would have to tell a group of 12 year olds not to pee in the pool?) This week was meant to give the students something to look forward to while at the same time giving them the responsibility to still pay attention during lessons.
By the time Thursday rolled around, we found out that the pool was closed to large groups for an inspection. Being a very flexible group, we agreed to take the students to the beach. Deb was prepared with knowledge from a previous experience and we had our knowledge of the students. This all helped make the trip a success, except for one thing: lunch. We brought snacks for the students so that they would not have to leave without eating. We figured some crackers and juice – simple things – would suffice. A few kids told us that it was not a lunch at all because there was no rice. With Vanini, one of the parish guards, we were relatively safe from the gigantic jellyfish that wandered to close, just a few minor stings.
We spent a relaxing evening out in Chimbote at a local Karaoke bar where we enjoyed attempts (some turned out wonderfully) at singing songs in Spanish as well as those classic oldies. On our last night in Chimbote, Vanini taught us how to dance some traditional dances with the help of Miguel (another young man who works for the Parish): Bachata, Wingo, Salsa, and a couple more that I did not catch the name of. In turn we taught Vanini, Miguel, and Julio a couple dances that we enjoy: the Cupid Shuffle and The Cotton-eyed Joe.
“Our mission is to promote health, wellness and learning by serving the Chimbote community with compassion and respect in an effort to enrich lives and to gain a bigger understanding of the world in which we live. We seek to grow as professionals while valuing each individual. We hope to create lasting relationships by sharing our gifts and graciously accepting those shared by the Peruvian people; celebrating the Peruvian culture along the way.” Even though our time was brief, the students really learned a lot and have more knowledge than when we started and that is what’s important. Even though we didn’t have to follow lesson plans (difficult for some) or have the standards for guidelines, we were successful in our mission. We were able to serve the people in Chimbote (with any of their needs) and we built relationships that have changed all of us. There are a lot of feelings that we all share with the people we had the privilege of working with and even though saying goodbye was difficult, I know it doesn’t have to be forever.
And after a long bus ride, and early morning, a short flight, and a relaxing day we have made it to Cusco. We are now looking forward to being tourists in this wonderful country.

Dan: Jess summed it up pretty well. The last week was all sorts of things: busy, dusty, fun, uncomfortable (back to the bathroom problems), busy, full of goodbyes, busy, dancey (is that a word?), and busy. The students were a little more talkative and open the second week of class after being given some time to get used to the freakishly tall, pale people standing in the front of the classroom (that´s us). By a little more talkative and open, I mean they were absolutely impossible to control and the neighbors could probably hear all the shouting and singing from our classrooms. Regardless, we had fun. We also spent time out in the community delivering brand new beds to families that didn´t have sufficient sleeping quarters (in one household, 8 children had been sleeping in a single bed every night) and conducting a survey throughout Chimbote to find out the varying medical, dental, and educational needs in the community. Goodbyes on Friday were difficult with our students, the staff at the Parish, the incredible Sister Peggy and Father Elmer, our fantastic guards, and the various friends we had made throughout the community. It was difficult to leave after just two weeks, knowing that so many needs still remain throughout the town. I´m not sure if we made a significant difference in Chimbote during our two weeks there, but I can say without any trepidation that each one of us was significantly changed by Chimbote during our stay.

We´re currently sitting in Cuzco trying to get acclimated to the altitude before we head to Machu Picchu tomorrow morning. Thankfully we left the majority of our bathroom problems and illnesses behind when we flew to Cuzco.

See you soon. ¡Si se puede!

Shout outs:

McCartney dedicates a shout out to Barboo, Wisconsin!!

Maddie dedicates a shout out to Sunnyside, Washington!!


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